[FoRK] Fwd: Hey, big spender...

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Thu Aug 28 09:13:15 PDT 2008

On Aug 28, 2008, at 6:52 AM, geege schuman wrote:
> I'd like to hear some thoughts on how we pay for way overdue  
> infrastructure
> improvements  Keep in mind that improvements mean jobs.

Improvements do not mean jobs, *spending* means jobs.  A distinction  
with a difference.

Infrastructure is almost entirely paid for by the States, not the  
Federal government. As I am sure you've probably noticed, the  
organizations that do this work in many state governments are  
incredibly corrupt and inefficient, often due to the stranglehold  
public employee unions have on these operations.  The problem is that  
you are correct: the primary function of many of these organizations  
*is* jobs, not building or maintaining infrastructure.  We do not need  
more money for infrastructure, we just need to stop wasting so much of  
the money already allocated; paying blue collar guys $60/hr to be on a  
perpetual smoke break produces surprisingly few results for the money  

The differences in cost between public and private sector  
implementation of this infrastructure can often vary by more than an  
order of magnitude.  In California this is the case, and in some areas  
people have successfully sued to force the state to pay private  
contractors to do quickly and inexpensively what was taking boatloads  
of money and years with few results when the state government  
infrastructure departments were responsible for it.

Infrastructure budgets have been reliable, bottomless troughs for  
unions to feed at, and I would suggest imposing some accountability  
there first before even considering throwing more money at it.  The  
majority of infrastructure budgets in many (most?) states is spent on  
overhead and activities with no discernible productive output.   
Unfortunately, the unions have made it impossible to eliminate all  
this dead weight and so we keep throwing good money after bad.  The  
funding has always been there, it is just getting wasted by the  
government agencies responsible.


J. Andrew Rogers

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